The Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack soccer team entered Southland Conference Tournament play Thursday with a head of steam. The third-seeded Ladyjacks won four of their last five regular-season games and had not lost in nearly a month. But No. 6 McNeese State snuffed out that momentum, along with SFA's season, as Ja'Nae Powell recorded a hat trick to lead the Cowgirls to a 3-2 overtime victory, eliminating the Ladyjacks from tournament play. SFA ends its season with a 9-8-1 overall mark.
SFA took command early, when sophomore Amanda Alders scored unassisted in the game's 16th minute to post her team- and conference-leading 12th goal of the season. The Ladyjacks held that 1-0 edge through halftime and built on it early in the second period. Sophomore midfielder Jessica Cotton took a pass from classmate Summer Bradfield and found the net to stake SFA to a 2-0 lead in the 59th minute.
That's when Powell went to work. She scored two goals unassisted in the game's next four minutes to quickly tie the score. Neither team could tally the decisive goal in regulation, though and the contest went to overtime. Powell scored her third goal of the night, again unassisted, 3:11 into the extra period.
Thursday's game was the second this season between the Cowgirls and Ladyjacks to go to overtime. SFA notched a 2-1 overtime win at Lake Charles on Oct. 6 to begin its season-ending unbeaten streak.
The tournament is in San Marcos for the second time in its history. SFA suffered a similar fate last time Texas State hosted the event. The Ladyjacks were ousted by Texas State with a 1-0 loss in the first round back in 2001. Thursday, SFA was the second team to suffer an upset defeat. No. 4 Northwestern State was knocked off by No. 5 Texas State, 1-0, in the afternoon game.
Texas State and McNeese State will advance to semifinal action when tournament play continues Friday. Conference champion Southeastern Louisiana and No. 2 Texas-San Antonio drew first-round byes.